Mayor Meg Kelly appointed a ten member charter review commission at the March 6 city council meeting. The commission will be chaired by City Attorney Vincent DeLeonardis.
Members include: Deputy Commissioner of Finance Michael Sharp, Deputy Commissioner of Public Safety John Daley, Deputy Mayor Lisa Shields, Deputy Commissioner of Accounts Marie Masterson, Deputy Commissioner of Public Works Joseph O’Neill, Commissioner of Accounts John Franck, Commissioner of Public Safety Peter Martin, Commissioner of Finance Michele Madigan and Commissioner of Public Works Anthony “Skip” Scirocco.
The mayor set out their mission “…To find efficiencies and organizational improvements to better serve the people of Saratoga Springs.”
Mayor Kelly indicated she anticipated the revisions would be submitted to the public as a referendum in November’s election.
The mayor was sharply criticized by nine of the speakers during the public comment period.
John Franck defended the mayor, asserting “What the mayor is doing is courageous and I believe it is the right thing to do.”
Commissioner Skip Scirocco similarly defended Mayor Kelly. “It took a lot of guts to put it on there and I am sure she took a lot of hits for it, but that’s part of being in politics.”
In a prepared statement Commissioner Michele Madigan wrote:
“Mayor Kelly showed tremendous leadership in allowing for another Mayoral Charter Commission, this time with a *charge and scope* to review and update our current City Charter which operates under the Commission form of government. The charge also states that this is to be placed on the ballot / referendum this November 2018. It’s been 17 years since it’s last successful update, and this Charter needs a through review and update. We cannot afford to wait any longer for this review. Mayor Kelly campaigned on supporting the last Mayoral Charter Commission in which they proposed a change to a city manager form of government. She also stated very clearly that if that initiative failed (and it did fail – make no mistake) that she would lead an effort to update our current charter. She is fulfilling this promise to the people and the Council and has the lead the way forward with her charge and Commission.”
Your blogger is in NYC.
Apparently the public in comment period turned into quite a scrum. I may post video highlights when I return.
5 thoughts on “Mayor Appoints Members of Charter Review Commission.”
The review commission is basically the City Council plus deputies. It might have been useful to have a few people from outside the city government.
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/Kathryn: you mean like Gordo and the Commandant?
Guys, I have to speak up on Kathryn’s behalf here… it would be as foolish to restrict the input about Charter Change – tweak the Commissioner form edition – to only people who have a direct stake in the government, as it was to place the task in the hands of non-inclusive ideologues in the last go-round… Public input in any change needs to be taken into account if citizens are going to buy into the changes.
My belief, and hope, is that Mayor Kelly’s brilliant tactical maneuver (are you taking notes, Professor?) to, as Turner put it “block them” from dragging us into another disastrous ego-driven redux, is just phase one – or the first of a series of moves akin to a winning chess strategy. The Times-Union editorial put it thusly: “It’s not in the public interest to keep having a do-over of votes once citizens have spoken. ”
Yet, having accomplished sending these blowhards out to sea, it would be silly to just replace one set of paternalistic pronouncers with another. Just as the former Commission failed to do so, it will be up to the new Commission to sell the public, and part of getting that “buy-in” is taking their input along the way. I am hoping that there will be LOTS of opportunities for the public to participate and comment as the new Commission’s proceeds – most, if not all of it, should be conducted in the light of day.
In fact, I expect that the members of the new Commission will intend to do these things, and I would urge them to clarify and affirm this critical point as soon as possible.
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The Commandant said that the Deputy Commissioners were do-nothings, were not qualified, were not trained to serve as the day-to-day department supervisors, and, basically, were worthless. This is a good opportunity for the Deputies of each department, to prove their mettle. I am sure that even the new Deputies will take up the challenge, and will all come together with great suggestions. I wish them well.
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